Berlin, 29 July 2022

Summary: The Kerntechnik Deutschland e.V. (KernD) association supports the increasing calls for the continued operation of nuclear power plants in the crisis situation and would like to point out in the current discussion that pure extended operation with the fuel elements available in the reactors beyond the end of 2022 now makes little sense. Without the ordering of new fuel assemblies, which KernD has been advising for some time, only a limited contribution to the power supply is possible. After almost 5 months of discussions without a corresponding political signal, the operators have run the plants at high load, as the Federal Chancellor had also demanded. Now the "tank will soon be empty" and significant help can only be provided by reloading fresh fuel elements in a crisis situation that is likely to last even longer. Politicians should finally take action and set the course for this as soon as possible.

In detail: In the current discussion about the continued operation of nuclear power plants due to the crisis, the focus in recent days has often been on continued operation for just a few more months next year. This is to take place exclusively using the fuel reserves still available in the plants after 31 December 2022 and without a renewed supply of fresh fuel elements.

Kerntechnik Deutschland has stated that, although a straightforward longwall operation can still make a contribution in some critical months, overall only a medium-term continued operation with new fuel loading makes sense. To ensure that fresh fuel elements can be procured by the coming summer of 2023, politicians must now make immediate decisions that allow this process to be set in motion. Without the rapid ordering of new fuel, continued operation would be limited to just a few more weeks. Incidentally, uninterrupted continued operation in the coming year with fresh fuel elements is already no longer possible.

The Federal Chancellor also called on the operators of nuclear power plants to use the plants as intensively as possible this year to reduce gas consumption, i.e. to run the "tank" as empty as possible. This will reduce the possible replacement of gas-fired power generation with nuclear energy in the coming year even further than simply refusing to use new fuel.

With only minimal continued operation, no dampening effect on the high price of electricity can be expected, as would be the case if existing nuclear power plants were to continue operating at low cost in the medium term. This would forfeit another important benefit of continued operation for electricity consumers. And the contribution to CO2avoidance by reducing the operating times of coal-fired power plants would be minimal if they were only in operation for a few months.

It can currently be assumed that the energy supply crisis will continue for several more years - and in this uncertain period, nuclear power plants with fresh fuel elements could still make a significant contribution to security of supply, climate protection and cost containment. So when every kilowatt hour is at stake, as it is now, we should not simply ignore the approximately 11 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per nuclear power plant that could still be made available to Germany every year.

Therefore, all politically necessary measures should be initiated immediately in order to enable the fuel supply of the German nuclear power plants still in question. The association would very much welcome this in order to guarantee security of supply for the population in the current tense situation.

Press contact:

Nicolas Wendler

Phone: +49 172 237 91 84


Continued operation of nuclear power plants: political decision urgent

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